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George Lucas originally wanted a short ‘Looney Tunes’ before ‘Star Wars’

Mark Hamill – aka Luke Skywalker – confirmed a somewhat surprisingly “Star Wars” trivia Monday on Twitter: Famous series creator George Lucas wanted a “Looney Tunes” short to play before the first movie.

Specifically, Lucas wanted the Warner Bros. “Duck Dodgers in the 24th-and-a-Half Century,” which can be seen below, accompanies theatrical screenings of the first Star Wars film, now known by its subtitle. A New Hope ”, released in 1977.

Starring Daffy Duck as a space hero, Porky Pig as a sidekick, and Marvin the Martian as an antagonist, the seven-minute cartoon was originally released in 1953 and directed by animation legend Chuck Jones.

Hamill confirmed this obscure factoid after the Toon In With Me Twitter account shared images from the short film and pointed out that it was ranked fourth in “The 50 Greatest Cartoons: As Selected by 1000 Animation Professionals. , A book published by cartoon historian Jerry Beck in 1994.

“George really wanted this classic Daffy Duck cartoon to be shown before every screening of [Star Wars]Hamill wrote. “It would have been an icebreaker to let the public know that what was to come was less than very serious. I was disappointed that I couldn’t get the rights to it and that didn’t happen. “

Lucas’s interest in the short was already confirmed in a 1983 interview between Jim Korkis, another animation historian, and Jones himself.

“Well Lucas said he saw ‘Duck Dodgers’ the year it was released when he was eight and he said it impressed him so much that he decided he wanted to do some movies, “Jones told Korkis. “At least that’s what he said in interviews at the time … Who really knows?” Apparently that had some influence. I know he loved the layouts made by [background artist] Maurice Noble. Who wouldn’t? They were breathtakingly beautiful.

Lucas even apparently expressed a desire for a “Duck Dodgers” sequel to be shown ahead of the 1980 theatrical release of “The Empire Strikes Back,” but the timing just wasn’t achievable, Jones said, since the Warner Bros. Theatrical Animation Department closed for years.

Jones ended up rounding up members of his old team for a possible sequel (“Duck Dodgers and the Return of the 24th Century and a Half”) and it aired on television in 1980 as part of the CBS special “Daffy. Duck’s Thanks – Special for the donation. ”

While Lucas’s desire for a Looney Tunes cartoon to accompany his films may seem unusual now that “Star Wars” has grown into such a great franchise, the original inspiration for the space saga came from the luscious youth series. by Lucas – like “Buck Rogers” and “Flash Gordon” – whose tone was relatively light and fantastic.

A first poster project for “A New Hope” even made direct reference to these inspirations, listing Luke Skywalker as a modern take on Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, and insisting that “Star Wars” would “make you yourself again. feel like a child ”.


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